Parent Visa Announcements
10 May 2017
Following ongoing speculation regarding amendments to the Australian Parent Visa situation, there has been an update from the Department of Immigration as follows:
PARENT VISA ANNOUNCEMENTS
NEW AUSTRALIAN TEMPORARY SPONSORED PARENT VISA – Bill before Senate
The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has announced the introduction of a new “temporary sponsored parent visa”. The announcement follows a commitment made by the Turnbull Government during last year’s election campaign to introduce this new parent visa. The availability of this parent visa will be dependent on the passage of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 through the Parliament. That Bill is currently before the Senate. If the Bill is passed in Parliament’s Winter Sittings, it is expected that the new visa will be available in late 2017.
To be eligible for this visa, parents must be sponsored by a biological, adoptive or step-child who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsoring child must be 18 years old or older, must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years, must meet a household income requirement, must meet character requirements, and must accept legal liability for any debt owing for care in the public health system that the parent may incur during their stay in Australia.
Temporary residents of Australia (holders of student visas, temporary skilled work visas, etc.) will not be able to sponsor their parents.
The visa application process will involve two stages, with sponsors and parent applicants being assessed separately, and with approval of the child-sponsor required before a visa application can be made by the sponsor’s parents.
Parents will be eligible for this new visa if their child is approved as a sponsor; they meet identity, health and character requirements, and do not owe outstanding debts for public health services they have received in Australia. However, applicants will be required to obtain and maintain health insurance for the entire period of their stay in Australia.
There will be a limit that only 1 set of parents will be able to be sponsored at any given time. Step-parents will be eligible only if they continue to be in a married or de factor relationship with a biological parent of the sponsoring child.
The “Balance of Family Test”, which has previously applied to other kinds of parent visas, will not be a criterion of the new temporary parent visa.
There will be no English language requirement for the grant of the visa.
The visas will be valid for a period of either 3 or 5 years, with the Visa Application Charge for the 3-year visa being $5,000 and the charge for the 5-year visa being $10,000. The initial quota proposed for this visa is 15,000 visa per annum.
It will be possible to “renew” this visa. However, the maximum period of stay that will be allowed under this program will be a total of 10 years.
Holders of the visa will not be able to engage in paid work. They will be allowed to assist with childcare and to undertake unpaid volunteer activities. They will also be allowed to undertake informal, short-term study.
CURRENT AUSTRALIAN CONTRIBUTORY PARENT VISAS – No change has been announced.
In the Australian budget announced on the 9th May 2017, Visa Application Charges where increased slightly for the 2017/2018 financial year, indicating that these visas will still be available, at least for this period.
This is supported by a footnote in an email from the Migration Institute of Australia regarding the new Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa which reads:
* Existing contributory and non-contributory parent visas will remain unchanged and open to new applicants.
This is significant news given that it implies that the existing contributory parent visas aren't imminently due to be changed. However, we would certainly not recommend taking for granted that they will remain in place indefinitely.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter please do get in touch with John Adams at Immigration2oz on 01483550914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.